The goal of any commercial website should be to bring in money while promoting goods and services. In the effort to monetize a site, many web developers run into common problems as a result of limited experience or skewed focus. When done right, however, monetizing your website can be a great source of revenue contributing to your overall success.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses stand to capitalize on increased web traffic with more individuals at home, freely using the web. Forbes reported that e-commerce could experience as much as a $175 billion revenue boost throughout 2020 alone. Getting in on this revenue boost means knowing how to properly monetize your website.
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to make the right monetization moves. To avoid pitfalls, you must understand where others are making mistakes. That’s why we’ve laid out five common monetization mistakes here that businesses are making on their websites, bringing you useful insights in monetizing the right way.
1. Failing to Use Data to Understand Your Audience
When Lenovo used data analytics to enhance their product modeling, they increased revenues per retail unit by 11%. This is the kind of boost businesses can expect to see when using data correctly. The same goes for website monetization.
Your website is an essential aspect of your brand. For your viewers, it is a through-point when it comes to product, services, media, or more—whatever you happen to offer. You can bolster the conversion rate for your website, but it takes a thorough understanding of your audience, their needs, and their challenges.
A common mistake many website monetizers make is assuming they understand their audience. No matter your niche, there is much to be gained through data use and applications. Data offers information on all kinds of audience metrics—from demographic to geographical location—and by analyzing this information across platforms, you can better build a website that will draw in not just your immediate intended audience, but a broader one as well.
Data tools and platforms can give you insights into keywords, audience interests, product and service gaps, and much more, which you can then turn around as a monetization strategy. Whether you’re marketing or simply trying to share some information, data will help.
Luckily, a host of data tools are available through social media platforms and in common applications like Google Analytics. These tools can give you the insights to shape your website around certain audience profiles, which will pay off in increasing your web traffic, thus furthering your monetization strategy.
2. Too Much Noise
Advertising is a common method of monetizing a website. By selling your page space to businesses looking to increase their visibility, you get a cut of the profits. These kinds of ads can be highly valuable, having generated $18.4 billion from mobile banner ads alone in 2017.
However, you can also go wrong with too many ads, a mistake frequently made by modern websites. A smorgasbord of pop-ups and a cluttered display featuring a dozen ads and sidebars is counter-intuitive to page usability and your monetization strategy overall.
In fact, four out of five users have closed a web page due to an auto-playing ad or pop-up. While users expect ads and don’t necessarily dislike all ads, obtrusive and obnoxious ad types can be a big detriment towards lowering your bounce rate and keeping users on your site.
A better approach would be to minimize your ad space but ensure that the advertisements users see are targeted somehow to their interests. Personalization is an effective way to reduce annoyance in an audience while potentially helping your monetization strategy through enhanced conversion rates. Go for targeted advertisements, and resist the urge to include auto-playing or noisy ads.
3. Relying Only on Ads
Just as having too many ads can be problematic to your monetization goals, relying on ads alone is not recommended. Often, website managers make this mistake, failing to realize that there are many site-monetization avenues that go beyond the typical banner advertisements.
Some of these alternative methods include:
Subscription services are all the rage these days and can be found in just about every industry. For any website that produces quality content on a consistent basis, considering a subscription or paywall model can be an effective way to generate revenue. Maximizing your subscription revenue will require offering your audience something they can’t quite get anywhere else, such as a community of people who share their interests or specific products and services.
Another great way to generate revenue through your website is to engage in some form of e-commerce. By marketing your own products and services through your website, you can create an income stream that works hand-in-hand with your online space, reinforcing the effectiveness of both your products and your website. Whether you’re selling merch or content subscriptions, online sales traffic can be a great way to boost the potential of your site.
Affiliate marketing is a method of sponsoring a product through a blog in order to receive a cut of the sales revenue. Like other advertising methods, this requires space on your site. However, the results can be highly beneficial, as the nature of affiliate marketing tends to feel entirely more genuine than banner ads. If you don’t intend to sell products of your own (and even if you do), affiliate marketing is a great way to showcase quality products from other businesses while earning revenue for your own.
These are just a few of the many methods of monetization that you can try out for your own website. Everything from content to push notifications can be monetized to generate increased returns on your site without having to rely entirely on ads. A thorough approach will consider all these strategies and more for best results.
4. Low-Quality Content
One of the most important and often-undervalued aspects of monetizing a website is maintaining a standard of quality that will keep users engaged. Quality means everything from your SEO approach to the overall effectiveness of your content. An ugly, hard-to-use site will give you nothing but high bounce rates and headaches as you attempt to produce the opposite, so consider every aspect of your design.
No matter your business size, high-quality content will help your online marketing approach, enhancing your search rankings, and improving visibility. But this requires optimizing your content.
Start with an effective SEO approach that considers how a webpage functions for users. If it takes more than three seconds to load, this will increase your bounce rate. If the content isn’t formatted with headings, this can lower your SERP rankings. Dedicate time and attention to the quality of every aspect of your site if you want it to generate revenue, paying special attention to SEO functionality and the usability of your site. While aesthetics are highly important as well, a beautiful site is worthless if no one can find or use it.
5. Failing to Experiment and Innovate
The final common mistake many website owners make is failing to experiment and innovate with monetization strategies. Doing the same thing all the time is a recipe for disaster when it comes to web engagement and revenues. Experimentation can help you generate ideas and produce effective results for monetization processes that consistently bring in revenue and are flexible enough to change when they don’t.
No matter what type of content, products, or services your website showcases, there are methods of monetization that can work for you. If you generate insightful content, for example, consider building a subscription or paywall model. If you create content for a niche, consider building a merchandise store on your website to boost your income.
Anyone with a website or small business who is just starting out will benefit from making a checklist of items that you can explore for monetization potential. Brainstorming in this manner helps you understand what avenues for monetization might be open to you, allowing you to more effectively connect the dots.
Once you have a plan in place, the analytics you generate from your site will be invaluable in helping you innovate. Explore how each change impacts traffic, bounce rates, and engagement to formulate the best possible strategy for the ever-changing digital landscape. Always reassess to ensure you are making the most out of your web design.
Website monetization can be a difficult process. With all the competing companies and bloggers out on the World Wide Web, finding the right combination of strategies to generate income takes time. However, by understanding common mistakes people make in monetizing a website, anyone can better prepare an effective approach.
Your best strategy will be not putting all your eggs in one basket. Don’t rely on the same basic ads or simple paywall service all the time. Monetization relies on thorough, innovative techniques and services that encourage user engagement and interest. This can change just as often as the digital world in general.
Make use of data to understand your target audience, broaden your monetization approaches, and create consistently high-quality content to build your revenues. No singular solution will work for all websites, but by knowing what to avoid, you are in a better position to succeed.